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Ch 11: American Civil War (1861-1865)

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons on the American Civil War and learn about key battles, major points, important strategies and more. Each lesson is accompanied by a short multiple-choice quiz you can use to check your understanding of these topics.

American Civil War

Although The American Civil War happened over 150 years ago, the effects of that war will live on forever. This war meant many things to many people. Different agendas were apparent during the war and people had varying reasons to fight. In our lessons on the Civil War, you'll get to learn more about the background of the war, key battles and technical details.

When the war began, the North and South had obvious strengths and weaknesses. Our lessons will help you define those strengths and weaknesses and understand how each side was equipped at the start of this epic war. You'll also take a look at the first battle at Bull Run. This was where the first blood was shed and the strategies of both sides began to take shape.

We'll share a lesson covering the key battles of the war. These include the famous battles that you've probably heard a lot about, such as Shiloh and Antietam. You'll also learn about the war's naval battles; although they were not fought on land, these were some critical battles of the war.

A major piece of legislation that passed during the war was President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. See how this key historical document was created, read some of the important points and study the legacy it has left on our country. Also, take a look at the role of African Americans in the Union and Confederate armies.

Soldiers fighting in the war were not the only causalities. The war was tough on everyone, especially those who tried to make life livable despite the fighting going on around them. Find out more about the effects the war had on the economy and everyday life for the civilians on both sides of the war.

You'll also study lessons that cover the turning points in the war. These points helped to shape how the war was fought and, ultimately, who won. Jump into discussions on battles such as Gettysburg, Vicksburg and Chancellorsville. See why these battles helped the North secure a victory.

Before the Civil War came to an end, Generals Grant and Sherman left their marks. Grant began the march towards Richmond with 120,000 soldiers who were ready to bring down the South once and for all. Sherman, perhaps one of the most infamous generals from this war, led his rampage through the South, burning pretty much everything in his path as he marched through Atlanta. As Grant hit the east and Sherman hit the west, the South was brought to its knees and even the great General Robert E. Lee couldn't save it.

Wrap up your study on this stormy period in U.S. history with a lesson covering the assassination of President Lincoln and the surrender of the South at Appomattox Courthouse. Discover how President Lincoln never got to see his hopes for a united country with freed slaves become a true reality thanks to an assassin's bullet. You'll see how the final events of the war unfolded, from Sherman taking Atlanta to the re-election of the president to the final days of turmoil for the country. Thanks for watching!

9 Lessons in Chapter 11: American Civil War (1861-1865)
Civil War Begins: Northern and Southern Advantages Compared

1. Civil War Begins: Northern and Southern Advantages Compared

At the outbreak of the American Civil War, both the North and South believed the conflict would be over quickly. But advantages for both the Confederacy and the Union meant a prolonged war between the states. In this lesson, discover some of the advantages that the North and South had.

The First Battle of Bull Run: Civil War Blood is Shed

2. The First Battle of Bull Run: Civil War Blood is Shed

Three months after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, Northern troops attacked Southern forces near the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. The first Battle of Bull Run (or Manassas) was the first major engagement of the Civil War and a terrifying defeat for the Union spectators who came to watch.

Key Civil War Battles in 1862: Monitor and Merrimac, Antietam, New Orleans & Shiloh

3. Key Civil War Battles in 1862: Monitor and Merrimac, Antietam, New Orleans & Shiloh

In 1862, the Union put its Anaconda Plan into action, resulting in several critical events: the Peninsular Campaign, the Battle of Hampton Roads between the ironclads Monitor and Virginia (Merrimack), the Battle of Shiloh, the capture of New Orleans, and the Battle of Antietam.

The Emancipation Proclamation: Creation, Context and Legacy

4. The Emancipation Proclamation: Creation, Context and Legacy

On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. More than three million slaves in the South were freed, but the move was not without its critics, both then and now.

How the Civil War Affected the Economy and Everyday Life in the North and South

5. How the Civil War Affected the Economy and Everyday Life in the North and South

With the strongest and most productive demographic of society away fighting in the Civil War, the task of running homes, communities, and the nation fell to those who stayed behind. The war on the home front changed their lives forever.

Civil War Turning Points: Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Vicksburg

6. Civil War Turning Points: Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Vicksburg

In 1863, three events proved to be turning points for the American Civil War: the Battle of Chancellorsville, the Battle of Gettysburg and the Siege of Vicksburg. Learn about these Civil War turning points in this lesson.

End of the Civil War: General Grant Begins the March Toward Richmond

7. End of the Civil War: General Grant Begins the March Toward Richmond

President Lincoln took a gamble and named Ulysses S. Grant as General-in-Chief of the Union army. They devised a plan to finally take Richmond and win the war in 1864. In this lesson, learn about General Grant's controversial tactics.

Sherman's March to the Sea

8. Sherman's March to the Sea

In 1864, General William T. Sherman began his Atlanta campaign. His success assured Lincoln's re-election in 1864. Sherman then began his destructive March to the Sea in order to capture Savannah.

Lincoln's Assassination and Lee's Surrender at Appomattox Courthouse

9. Lincoln's Assassination and Lee's Surrender at Appomattox Courthouse

Two of the most eventful weeks in American history took place between April 1 and April 15, 1865, during which Richmond (the capital of the Confederacy) fell, General Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse and President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.

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